Archive for September, 2009

September 29th, 2009

Petitioning Candidates Call For Change

by LonSeidman

About 300 supporters of the 16 petitioning candidates rallied at Musco Fuel last Saturday to ask voters to end the two-party system in town. Prominent politicians including Waterbury State Representative Jeffrey Berger, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy attended the rally. While 2nd District Town Council candidate Randy Petroniro hosted the rally, many of the petitioining candidates participated.

Petroniro noted “We have a good mayor in Tom Dunn, but we have gridlock right now (in the Town Council). We need good people to help him out”. Petroniro owns three businesses in town and his straight forward personality has translated into signs blanketing town so far.

Mayor Dunn is up for re-election, and while he has not endorsed any other candidate for this year’s election, he remarked how the involvement of so many candidates is a good sign of participation in Wolcott. “I’ll work with who the people elect” he has said in the past. At the rally he told the de facto third party “It doesn’t have to be Tom Dunn’s way, but people who have ideas,” are the ones that matter in town.

Dunn called out Democratic Mayoral candidate George Babcock’s platform of reforming the Charter. Dunn noted that Republicans on the Council proposed revising the Charter, but needed 6 votes. “Not a single Democrat voted for it.” Other observers have suggested that the Democrats only want to open the Charter only if they can control the commission.

Vanessa Malena is mounting a strong challenge to Democratic Tax Collector Lorraine McQueen. A sign on the podium read “$1.4 million uncollected”, referencing the current taxes which have been uncollected. “I pay my taxes. You pay your taxes. Why are some people not paying theirs?” questioned Malena to applause. Maleena and advisor Robert Ficeto went on to say that if these taxes were collected, an estimated $300 could be returned to every household in Wolcott. “Other towns have higher unemployment rates, yet still have higher collection rates,” stated Malena.

Tammy Bastenback, a contender for Board of Education took the stage with her two daughters beaming their support from the audience. Bastenback asserted that things in Wolcott’s government need to change. She expressed her surprise to the audience “That not a single member of the Board of Education is a parent!”

Other candidates introduced themselves to attendees who enjoyed a bar b cue of hot dogs and hamburgers on a bright sunny day. A van shuttled supporters to various parking lots up and down Wolcott Rd. Not all candidates are registered as unnafiliated, but some are registered with the major parties.

Have something to say about this? Click “Leave a Comment” above! Is your political perference not in this article? Don’t fret- there’s still more than a month to go before election day. Send us your news and ideas.

September 29th, 2009

ARF Fundraiser Successful

by LonSeidman

About one hundred marchers and local volunteers marched in the Pet Parade this past Sunday morning. This includes a horse, ambulance and firefighters. “The Animal Rescue Foundation raised about $5,000,” stated Municipal Animal Control officer, Joe Ouimet. The morning met marchers with rain which postponed the other activities which were to include a pizza tasting contest and pet expo. Those activities have been postponed to October 10th and will take place at the VFW. At just after 10 am, a motorcycle rally starting at the Olde School Social Club on Tosun Rd. will commence and lead to the VFW. A pot luck lunch with the pizza contest will follow.

September 26th, 2009

Missing Cat- Four Corners

by LonSeidman

A grey and black stiped cat possibly wearing a red and black collar with no tags has been missing since September 20th in the Clinton Hill / Andrews Rd. area. He answers to the name “Soj”. If you see or have seen this cat, please call (203) 808-1528 or (203) 879-6269.

September 26th, 2009

Pet Parade To Benefit Rescue Group

by LonSeidman

The Animal Rescue Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to finding new homes for stray and unwanted animals is steppng up efforts to raise awareness and funds to build an animal shelter. The first ever pet parade will be held on Sunday Sept. 27th at 11 am. Line up will begin at 10 am at Bill & Sam’s Diner. The parade will then move north along Wolcott Rd and end at Peterson Park. A free pet expo will follow until 4 pm, promising fun for kids and their pets and families. Eight different Wolcott pizza restaurants will be participating in the “Save the Crust for the Dog” pizza tasting contest. Any resident can purchase a slice of pizza from any of the eight restaurants and then vote for their favorite.

Funds from the fundraisers will go towards building a new animal shelter in Plymouth after a former shelter burned down in November 2008. “The building was very old and it went up in minutes. But thanks to the volunteers there, no person or animal was killed or even injured” in the fire, says Wolcott Municipal Animal Control Officer Joe Ouimet. The shelter housed both dogs and cats. Stray cats are actually more common than dogs, says Ouimet. ARF currently is referring prospective owners to the Waterbury and Bristol municipal pounds for adoptions. Town and city municipal pounds are for impounding or quarentining problem animals but they also pick up strays. Those stray animals often are turned over to organizations like ARF, but without a shelter they often stay in the municipal pounds. This is a problem because when the pounds fill up, some animals are likely to be destroyed.

The Animal Rescue Foundation tries to step in to find good homes for those strays and abandoned animals. They also become involved if a family or individual must move from a house to an apartment that doesn’t allow pets, or if an owner passes away. Prospects for building a new animal shelter are promising and the organization has already bought the land for it to be built upon. In just under a year since the fire, the organization is just about halfway to its goals for building a $500,000 facility capable of handling the number of animals ARF expects to care for and provide facilities for adoption, care, and volunteerism. “The facility will handle over 20 dogs and about 30 cats,” says Ouimet who also serves as the group’s fundraising chairman.

The town is expected to come out in force for the parade and fundraiser Sunday morning. Dunkin Donuts will be handing out free coffee and donuts. Mayor Dunn, Police Chief O’Leary, State Rep. Corky Mazurek, and other dignitaries will be on hand for the festivities as will several civic organizations. Any questions about the event, ARF, or future fundraising should be directed to Fran Culver at 879-0662 or Joe Ouimet at 879-1414.

September 25th, 2009

BBQ Competition Fires Up Park Gathering

by LonSeidman

For many years the Russell and Rainone families have eaten together on Ivy Lane sharing family time amongst neighbors. One day, Angelo Rainone and Leigh Russell had a discussion over who could make better BBQ ribs. That led to another great meal in a “rib-off” with four teams according to Keli Russell, Leigh’s daughter. “And then it spread from there.” Angelo Rainone, along with Ben Russell now organizes and run the fourth annual Rib-off which was held last Saturday in Peterson Park. “We had 8 teams the second year, 13 in the third, and 18 teams this year,” said Rainone.

About 400 competitors, supporters, and carnivores gathered in the Park grilling up spices, mixing in all sorts of concoctions including molasses, ketchups, peppers, and other ingredients to tempt the taste buds of judges in the fourth annual BBQ contest. From the first four teams, until this year the competition had 18 different teams from around the Wolcott area. Each team paid a $25 entry fee for each submission of their best BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, and then if they wanted, an open category which invited selections ranging from steak sandwiches to wings and margherita shots.

Grill teams started the bright cloudless day at around 8 am. The judging began at 3 pm, allowing enough time for the pork to begin falling off the bones.

Natalie Testa and Amber Ely of Watertown manned the “Rub This” tent. She opened a rack of spices, adjusting their positioning in a standard grill. “I know the hot spots, the cool spots and the low spots of this grill. Its like my baby” they said explaining how to get the right texture for the juices to soak into her masterpiece. Winners of the Open Category, Keli Russell and her boyfriend Brian Peck had a little help from Russell’s mother. She lent them pots, pans, and silverware. “But we brought the Green Monster” noted Brian, of their backdrop for the name of their team, Fenway Pork.

Frankie Perrone was the team leader at a unique BBQ’ing booth decked out in leather jackets and chrome. His sons Rusty and son Garren helped him build a unique stove. Indeed, the side gas tanks were those of a motorcycle, which also included an exhaust pipe mounted to the top of the stove. “we only use Harley Davidson parts as part of our own Chopper barbecue,” noted Garran Perrone who’s team called themselves ‘Bad Ass Biker BBQ’. “I tried some of their ribs – a slightly sweet but gritty pepper blend that was not at all spicy. What’s in it, I asked? ______ oil, some ________ oil, _______ oil, and a few secret ingredients, he said. For their open submission, one of the boys roasted a striper he caught off the Rhode Island coast – which was also very flavorful.

Knowing there were eighteen teams and only a few judges given a couple of hours to do the judging, I wondered if I might be able to tell a good sample myself. Team “Ribbed for your Pleasure”, I tasted a sample of what I thought was a tasty concoction of molasses, ketchup and peppers. “Actually, none of those are in the ingredients,” said the chef. Instead, it was a rub covered with a homemade BBQ sauce with some smoke spices. On top of it all was a sprinkling of parsley. Better put than I can give it justice. That team as made up of Tim Alice, Mark Pettinichi of Wolcott and their friend Mike Spino.

There were some experienced judges on hand for the competition, but even they didn’t have an easier job. Dan Chieffo of Waterbury has experience competing in chili cook-offs himself admits how he has his own personal favorites, but its still fun. Another judge said after eating 5-6 samples, the judging becomes more difficult. Though throughout the day a full meal is had. Asked why Joe Orsini became interested in helping to judge the competition, he noted “I love BBQ. I’ve been involved in the steak business before and have been a general manager of “such restaurants. He has a taste for what should be in a rib, and the variety of possibilities.

Food wasn’t the only thing teams were competing for. Presentation also counted, and last year the Ginny Pigs won for best kitchen setup. This year they included an image of the Virgin Mary, and no kitchen would be complete without Jesus Christ to watch the careful ingredients being prepared. Homeliness was important to the team too, as cheese graters, rolling pins and dish towels hung from the ceiling of their tent. Every step of the way teams were careful to prepare dishes to the timing of the judges, and perfection in freshness. Cathy Pernerewski and Steve Penerewski had one exchange in preparing steak sandwiches “too fat, too fat, Steve” as Steve sliced the steak in slices to be topped with cheese and light lettuce with less than 2 minutes before the judges wanted their submission. “Anyone want some tenderloin?” Steve asked those gathered around for a demonstration that could have been on the Food network.

While the prizes at the end of the day were one enticement to enter the competition, most amateur chefs just wanted to enjoy the experience. Josh Dalton of Waterbury had been looking forward to this year’s competition since reading a newspaper article last year about the rib-off. “Just wanting to see what other people think of my food I think is awesome!” he said in front of his Salty Dalty BBQ stand. He called Town Hall who got him in touch with the Russells to set up shop on Saturday. He noted how he had been to competitions in the south that were intensely serious about bar-b-cuing. Indeed, those competitions include big rigs and serious competitors drawing quantities paralleled only by State Fairs. While Wolcott’s competition is only in its 4th year, it already has grown to fill Peterson Park.

Certainly showing up at 8 am to begin a day’s worth of cooking requires a little planning. Jim Tucker, leading his family at J & J BBQ ratted off the stock he carried in: 4 racks of ribs, plus numerous chicken wings and thighs. Tucker has a unique story where he used to play minor league baseball in North Carolina for the Chicago Cubs. “On days off from playing baseball, my host mother would teach me how to BBQ.” he noted of his Carolina style. He handed a passing family a sample with long and thick cooking gloves specially suited for handling the gooey rib sauces. His Carolina ribs held a strong but irresistible bite which I’ve never tasted before. His team of about a dozen family members sat behind him enjoying some of the 4 racks of ribs and dozens of chicken wings he grilled throughout the day.

At 5 pm, all teams and families gathered around a pavilion for the results of the blind taste- test judging. Here are the winners:

Ribs
1st – Grill Smoker
2nd – Ginny Pigs
3rd – Rib Elo

Chicken
1st- Rub This (first time in competition)
2nd – Fire it Up
3rd – Fenway Pork

Open competition – any submission:
1st – Fenway Pork (2nd year in a row)
2nd – Ginny Pigs
3rd – Nice Rack BBQ

Joe Delucia was the head of team Gill Smoker. He wouldn’t reveal his secrets except that he uses “smoker’s secret sauce”. Next year he’ll defend his skills, though will admit that the taste that impressed the judges was “all in the vinegar”.

All recipes and secret and not-so-secret ingredients have been withheld to protect the innocent. And the guilty. Some participants’ tongues still ached days later, and others’ stomachs are getting ready for next year.
A Special thank you for the sponsor of this article: Cut Right Landscaping of Terryville. Call them at (860) 589-4376. Thanks for the hat guys! Without it, the top of my head could have been the same color as the ribs!

have a correction? e-mail: cobrien7@hotmail.com

September 25th, 2009

Back From Vacation

by LonSeidman

Over the last four days I was away in Orlando visiting a friend and her two month old daughter I’ve been longing to see. Both mom and baby are doing well and it was a very pleasant and relaxing visit punctuated with the expectations of keeping up with a baby’s needs. Definitly a nice change of pace though.

I’m back though. Sorry for the lull in news. I do have quite a bit to catch up on, includ/.ving the busy weekend last week. If anyone has a first-hand account of the town-wide tag sale last weekend, let me know. If you were a bargain-hunter or a seller, shoot me an e-mail.

This weekend promises to be a busy one as well. Don’t forget about the pet parade which starts at Bill & Sam’s on Sunday and goes to Peterson Park. Parade kicks off at 11 am. Contact Joe Ouimet with any questions or if you have a float to participate. 879-1414.

After the Pet Parade, head over to Bin 300 which will be hosting a fundraiser for New Foundations, a non – profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities. The event will be from noon until 4 pm and feature the band Showbiz. There will be hor d’oeuvres, food, wine and beer. Call Nancy (879-5858) or Sue (879-4631) for tickets and more information. tickets are $35.

e-mail: cobrien7 (at) hotmail.com

September 22nd, 2009

Red Alert: Watch Your Car!

by LonSeidman

Around 6:04 this evening the Wolcott Police Department issued a Red Alert. There has been a recent spat of vehicle break-ins throughout town. Residents are reminded to do the following:

– remove valuables from view in your car including GPS devices, i-Pods, Cell phones, laptops, jewlery and other devices

– Lock your Doors. Yes, Wolcott is quiet, yet we are not far from the city and major highways. Wolcott is not immune from people needing money who may prey upon your possessions. It never hurts to lock your doors.

– Be aware of your neighborhood. Be familiar with the cars in your neighbors’ driveways. If you know your neighbors, be aware of what is probably in or out of place.

– Be alert if yours or a neighbor’s dog starts barking suddenly. Similarly, if motion lights turn on, be alert.

– DON’T HESITATE TO CALL WOLCOTT POLICE!!!! Especially if something is occuring as you see it, you will be able to provide valuable information and if the suspect is caught, you will have prevented them from striking even more residents’s vehicles.

If you suspect something is even slightly amiss, it just might be. No matter what time it is, call 911 or 879-1414 at any time. Officers patrol town 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They and the dispatchers are awake at all hours, so give them a call. If you wait until the next day, any chance of catching a suspect may be slim to none. If someone broke into your property, you’d want someone else to do something, right? The worse feeling in the world for a victim is that a neighbor or witness saw something but didn’t bother to do something about it.

If, after calling the police on something that turns out to be normal, that’s fine. Let the police decide if something is amiss or not. If you report a ‘suspicious person” in good faith, you will not be found at fault. Often, if you hear a sound or see a person or vehicle in an odd or unusual location – chances are its worth looking into. Follow your instinct.

A note on cellular 911: Connecticut has enhanced 911 where a cell phone will often be traced to the approximate address (but not necessarily the ACTUAL address) that you call from. Be aware also that because of various cellular providers, tower locations, or especially if you are calling near the town line or a highway, your call might be answered by a neighboring town, State Police or NW Public Safety. Be patient and inform the dispatcher of what town you are calling from. They will usually tell you to stay on the line as they connect you with the correct 911 dispatcher that can help you. Be patient.
For example, if you are on Woodtick Rd, be sure to inform the dispatcher that you are in Wolcott. Woodtick Rd. also runs in Waterbury.

September 21st, 2009

Free- Write

by LonSeidman

This afternoon I roamed the streets of Wolcott on the off chance that someone was still holding a late tag sale. A few people still had leftovers – four in fact. I was specifically looking for a bookcase, but love to browse the knick-nacks, old factory tools, random toys, and other things that people have accumulated over the years.

And then I came across a “Free” pile at the end of someone’s driveway. I was curious and looked at what was there. I was surprised to find a 2 x 1.5 foot framed painting of a barn in the snow. The brush strokes were very similar and the scene would match a painting I found at another tag sale two years ago. that painting – also in the snow – includes a stone wall in a forest overlook towards another hill. It reminds me of the Connecticut River valley even thoguh there’s no inscription of where it is or the artist’s name. I wonder if the author is the same. I took it this one. The previous portrait has a grey winter sky, this one a pink sunrise. There was also a yellow book written in Italian – an Atlas of Rome! I love atlases. Always have… yes I’m a wierd nerd. It all started when I wanted to be a weather man when I was a kid.

So. This begs the question. What have YOU gotton for free? Anything on the side of the road? An odd prize? Grab bag gift? Click “Leave a comment” above.

I’m going on vacation for the next 4 days… got two articles coming up, but otherwise will be quiet for a couple…

September 20th, 2009

Pet Parade is NEXT Week; ‘Bounce for a Cure’ Today

by LonSeidman

A sidebar in today’s Republican- American gave the wrong date for the Animal Rescue Foundation’s Pet parade. The article states that the parade is today. A police dispatcher confirmed that the parade will instead be next Sunday at 11 am.

However, “Bounce for a Cure Day”, a fundraiser for the Ameican Cancer Society is being held today from 1 pm until 5 pm at Party Plus, 95 Wolcott Rd. Games, clowns, party bounces and more will be held. A donation of $10 per child is requested. $50 donations earn chances for raffle prizes such as bikes and gift certificates.

If you would like to have a float in the pet parade, contact Fran Culver at (203) 879-0662 or Dog Warden Joe Ouimet at 879-1414 ext. 151. Proceeds go to rebuilding the shelter which burned last year in Plymouth.

September 20th, 2009

Republicans Hold Picnic Today

by LonSeidman

All Wolcott residents are invited to Woodtick Recreation today to join town Republican candidates for their annual picnic. Ask questions and meet the candidates in their efforts to succeed in this year’s particularly busy election season.

Mayor Dunn, who also is up for re-election, will also be there. Signs and other campaign material may be picked up.

Food will be provided. Tickets for adults are $7, seniors $5, children $3.

coming soon: articles on the petitioning candidates and the Peterson Park BBQ Competition